The Following article was published in the June edition of Sharpened Arrows 2012.
A dim fog hung over the battle field as Christian stepped forward to join the fight by himself for the first time. The war he was about to enter was not a new conflict; it was a fight that had raged violently from the beginning of time; the war between God and Satan. Christian was well protected by tried and tested armor and in his hand he held his weapon of offense; the Sword of the Spirit. As Christian clutched his sword, a flood of memories filled his mind of the years of careful training he had received from his grandfather on how it was to be rightly used. His mind went back to the many times he had sat by his grandfather’s warm, open fire and listened to his deep, mellow voice as he spoke of the conquests and victories he had experienced as a warrior for the truth. He remembered the humble prayers his grandfather had often prayed that Christian would grow up to be a good soldier in the army of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This was no ordinary Sword; it had been passed down from generation to generation, and though it was old; it was whole and complete as though protected and preserved by unseen hands. Its edges were sharp and powerful like no other sword known to man. Though it was of simple design to the human eye, when used by men of faith, it inflicted great wounds upon the enemies of God. Christian trusted this Sword with all his heart and above all he desired to please the Great Captain of Heaven; the same Captain his grandfather had given his whole life to serve. Now it was time for him to stand for the faith of his fathers. His creed was short and pointed, EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH. This was to be his charter, his guide, and his calling as a soldier of the cross.
As Christian made his way to the battle, he was joined by another soldier who was also traveling to the front. His armor was quite impressive and shiny compared to the plain, simple attire that Christian was given by his grandfather. “How do you do good sir,” enquired Christian politely, “are you traveling to the front? I hear the battle is fierce. What is your name?” “My name is Captain Contemporary” replied the stranger, “and as for your comment concerning the battle; well, it is quite plain to see you lack experience in these matters. You see I have been to the finest and most up to date military training workshops and possess some of the finest weaponry available to the modern soldier. This takes some of the sting you speak of out of the conflict.” “That does sound impressive,” replied Christian. “I have not the credentials you speak of, but I have been trained by my grandfather who has fought bravely for the cause for many years. This Sword in my hand is what he used and he has taught me diligently in the correct use of it.” “Hmmm” said Captain Contemporary, “I can see you are going to need some help from me to prepare you further for what’s ahead on the front line. You see, today’s battlefield requires a much more sophisticated and educated approach. The old Sword used by so many in the past is somewhat archaic and outdated for the modern soldier. Some very highly trained and intellectual men have produced some excellent Revised swords that are far more up to date. While some of the design is similar to the old Sword you speak of, they are much easier to use and have had a lot of the unnecessary features removed. The design has been modified so you still get the intent of the original Sword without having to be concerned about the fine points of detail.” “I see,” said Christian. “Could you please show me one?” “Why certainly,” replied Captain Contemporary, “I always keep several different kinds with me so I have the flexibility of choosing which one best suites me at the time depending on the situation.”
The swords did look impressive. They were much smaller and thinner than Christian’s but they were very shiny and colorful. As Christian took the sword in his hands, he was startled to notice that it was made of plastic, so different to the hard, unbending steel of his own sword. Only one edge had been sharpened and even that was very blunt in comparison to the sharp two-edged Sword in his possession. “Are you sure these are strong enough to be used against the enemy?” enquired Christian. “My grandfather has told me of the nature of the foe we are to encounter and the fierceness of the battle that rages for the souls of men held captive.” Captain Contemporary smiled understandingly. “Why of course they work very effectively. You see, some of the previous generations, like your grandfather, employed certain military strategies which were somewhat narrow minded and misguided in their purpose. They never won any major battles and never gained the majority. With up to date research, we have found that the enemy does not so violently oppose us so long as we approach them with one of these new swords. In fact, they very often end up joining our clan! The battle has taken on a whole new progressive dimension; it’s really quite invigorating. Don’t concern yourself too much with thinking about all the details for yourself, just trust the experts with the qualifications, Christian, you will find it so much easier. Everyone does it this way now. Would you like to try one of the swords? They are a little expensive but the funds help the experts to produce more with further improvements. I will even let you use one as a trial if you like. You will soon see how successful it will be. If you follow our carefully researched formulas, very soon you will be able to join the rest of us great leaders on the platform at the next workshop on modern warfare leadership. But remember, you must adopt the new methods and motto that go hand in hand with the use of the new swords. The old methodology of your grandfather will not work with the new swords. They demand a whole new approach, a total change in the way you view the battle. Your new motto must be SOFTLY DIALOGUE, GENTLY PERSUADE. Be kind and affable towards the enemy. In fact, don’t view them so much as the enemy. This is outdated terminology in modern warfare. Rather, seek to find some common ground that will enable you to join sides and work together for the same cause. Win them over to your side by being flexible and accommodating. Find out what they like and dislike and tailor your approach accordingly. Be sure not to offend them by trying to cut and jab too much with the sword like the old time warriors. The new swords are more suited to the entertainment jab so invite the enemy for a mug of coffee and show them some clever tricks and stunts with the swords. You will find some great ideas in an up to date war Manual called The Purpose Driven Soldier from one of the new mega military centers. Well, all the best Christian, I must be going. I must be ready for my next speaking engagement at the new dialogue forum. All the best with the new sword. I will ensure you receive the bill later if you decide to use it.”
Christian stood alone, confused and perplexed. Maybe he should try the new way. Maybe his grandfather was too old to know the unique challenges of his day. While he pondered what to do, he remembered that his grandfather had warned him that without faith, the Sword would be of no effect. The Sword had to be used in complete dependence upon the Great Captain of Salvation. He had also warned him to beware of counterfeit swords that were secretly designed by the enemy to deceive young soldiers and render them useless in the battlefield. Many a young soldier had been brutally slain on the battlefield that way his grandfather had cautioned. Before Christian went out on his own, his grandfather had encouraged him to read often the inscription that was engraved upon the handle of the sword. Christian quickly dropped the new sword and picked up the old Sword he had placed to one side. He carefully began to re-read the inscription and soon its familiar words began to re-kindle a fire within his heart.
This sword burns like a fire and breaks like a hammer. Its edges are sharper than any two-edged sword; it is quick and powerful and pierces to the very depths of the soul. It will never change; it is forever preserved for God is its Designer and Keeper. It will accomplish the will of God and is all sufficient for the soldier to equip him for the battle. Fight the good fight! War a good warfare! Finish the course! Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. (Jeremiah 23:29; Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 24:24; Psalm 12:6-7; II. Timothy 3:16; II. Peter 1:21; Isaiah 55:11; I. Timothy 3:16-17; I. Timothy 6:12; I. Timothy 1:18; II. Timothy 4:7; Heb. 12:1-2)
With renewed faith, courage and determination, Christian went forward to face the enemy. The enemy was fierce and dreadful just as his grandfather had told him, yet Christian found the Sword a faithful and true weapon. The powers of darkness could not withstand his brave advances for the Sword was too powerful for them to overcome. Captives were rescued and victories won as he earnestly fought for the faith that had become his own. His grandfather, frail and weak physically, no longer had the strength to fight alongside Christian on the front line of the battle but he joined the battle in the place of prayer — prayer for his courage and strength. His words of counsel and wisdom were constant sources of encouragement for Christian that spurred him to continue in the fight for the truth.
And now dear reader, how about you? Are you a young man or woman? Will you commit to war a good warfare for the glory of our Great Captain, Jesus Christ. Don’t lay aside the old Sword of the Word of God (KJV 1611) for a cheap, plastic substitute with no spiritual power to set captives free or edify the saints. It may not have all the bells and whistles’ of modern Christianity yet it is a tried and tested weapon that has slain its tens of thousands for the glory of our God.
Perhaps you are an older saint? What are you doing to encourage and strengthen the hands of the young warriors of the faith coming up the line? You may not have the physical strength you used to have but you can join the fight in the place of prayer and in the counseling of young soldiers of the faith. We need your wisdom, your prayers and your counsel. I am personally grateful to know that my own grandfather and grandmother, Mr. Peter Western and Mrs. Leila Western, pray for their children and grandchildren daily. Though they are too old to leave their house very often, they strengthen our hands for the fight with their intercessions before the throne of grace. Only eternity will reveal the full extent of how God has used their prayers to work in our lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, I charge you today to lay aside the weapons of carnal compromise, and to arm yourselves with the weapons of spiritual power. With the Apostle Paul I beseech you to, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” I. Timothy 6:12
By Simeon Western (Editor)
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